A normally quiet time of the sailing year was made more interesting this week by an e-mail from Sweden's Artemis Racing, the America's Cup team with their base at Alameda Point.
There was a lot of excitement way back when Artemis announced that Terry Hutchinson, a Marin County resident and local sailor, would be the skipper of the team. Under Hutchinson's leadership Artemis excelled throughout the 2011-2012 World Series (including winning the Match Race Championship), and also did well in the two regattas this summer and fall in San Francisco Bay.
On November 30, Artemis announced that Hutchinson had been "released from the team." The e-mail, which includes a statement from Artemis CEO (and Bay Area native) Paul Cayard, makes no mention of the reason for Hutchinson's departure.
The e-mail instead takes a positive spin, with the first paragraph being the announcement of a new afterguard. "Afterguard" is a sailing term that refers to the key positions of helmsman and tactician, who are generally located at the rear ("after") end of the boat, where the tiller is. The new afterguard features "Olympic medalists Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge and Santiago Lange as well as Loïck Peyron, one of the world’s most experienced multihull helmsmen."
Nathan Outteridge skippered the team's second boat, Artemis Red, in the San Francisco Bay regattas this summer and fall; Peyton was the skipper of the French Energy Team (which does not have a 72-foot AC72 catamaran entered in the Louis Vuitton Cup next year).
"With the America’s Cup racing just seven months away, it’s crucial that we maximize each day the team is sailing the AC72, both in terms of training, as well as understanding the boat’s limitations and attributes to be considered for future boat and wing development. The experience this afterguard brings is unmatched and is what will help the team succeed,” In Cayard wrote.
THE AMERICA'S CUP 2013 CALENDAR
Next year is filling up with America's Cup events. The Red Bull Youth America's Cup is a first-time event (as is the entire World Series we've been watching) that will feature younger sailors who have their eyes on reaching the level of the AC itself someday. There are currently 20 teams from 17 countries who have applied, but there will be a screening process before the Selection Series this winter. These teams will compete using the same AC45-type boats that are being used in the World Series; they will use either the existing boats we've been seeing, or build new ones.
Confirmation of the invited teams should happen any day now. The "Selection Series" to narrow the field will take place February 9-24, with the main event over Labor Day weekend, September 1-4.
The next World Series event happens in Naples, Italy, April 16-21. But then two new regattas have been scheduled for May 28-30 and May 31-June 2. Those are shown on the schedule simply as "USA," but both Newport, R.I. and New York City have been rumored as possible locations.
The AC website still shows the Louis Vuitton Cup - which is where all the challengers (that is, every team except defender Oracle Racing) compete for the right to compete in the Americas Cup 34 regatta itself - scheduled for July 4-August 30. However, this long period was scheduled when they expected around eight teams to compete; it looks like we will see only Artemis Sweden, Luna Rossa Italy and Emirates New Zealand. Some of the time will be filled in with a "Defender's Regatta" - the two Oracle Racing teams will compete against each other to choose which one will defend its title.
Now you're all caught up! Stay tuned; the AC has thrown surprises at us throughout the past couple of years, so I don't expect them to stop anytime soon.
Text of e-mail from Artemis Racing
Artemis Racing Announces Changes to Afterguard
Alameda, CA - November 30, 2012 –– Artemis Racing, Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, announced today a new afterguard featuring Olympic medalists; Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge and Santiago Lange as well as Loïck Peyron, one of the world’s most experienced multihull helmsmen. The technical and multihull experience of this group will provide Artemis an efficient nucleus to guide the team’s AC72, particularly through the next few critical months of sailing and testing.
Iain Percy will also act as sailing team director.
With these changes taking place, Terry Hutchinson has been released from the team. “Terry has made a huge contribution to the team since we started our quest for the America’s Cup. Terry’s leadership and match racing expertise led Artemis Racing to win the 2012 ACWS Match Racing Championships and has brought the team to where we are today. We appreciate all of his efforts and dedication. We wish him the very best for the future,” said Paul Cayard, CEO of Artemis Racing.
Artemis Racing’s 72 was christened on November 3rd and the team has been training on San Francisco Bay in preparation for the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series which begins next summer, as a lead up to the 34th America’s Cup in September 2013.
Cayard added: “With the America’s Cup racing just seven months away, it’s crucial that we maximize each day the team is sailing the AC72, both in terms of training, as well as understanding the boat’s limitations and attributes to be considered for future boat and wing development. The experience this afterguard brings is unmatched and is what will help the team succeed.”